Disclaimer: The following article discusses signs of abuse and resources to seek help. This article is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for talking to a health professional or a counselor.
Domestic violence during the Pandemic has been considered to be a pandemic in and out of itself. With nowhere to go, it allows perpetrators to hold power. People in abusive relationships continue to struggle with limited resources. Despite the Pandemic being a blessing in disguise for some, staying confined to space doesn’t affect everyone in the same way.
The warning signs of abuse
Warning signs of abuse can come in various forms. Most people tend to look at the more physical identifiers, but it goes beyond that. Social care institute for excellence states that there are five types of domestic abuse:
Emotional abuse deals with manipulation, loss of hope, anxiety, fear, among many emotions. It aims to control the victim through emotions, whether that be to embarrass or criticize them.
Psychological abuse aims to distort the victim’s mind. It can be done through deliberate actions such as manipulation and instilling fear into someone. Psychological abuse can alter the way the victim views their everyday life, which can sometimes cause self-doubt.
Physical abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse. This is done by intentionally hurting someone through hitting, kicking, or anything causing physical harm to the body. Physical abuse can be identified through bruises, burns, or in extreme cases, serious injury resulting in doctor or hospital visits.
Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity. Perpetrators do this by using force and manipulation.
Financial abuse comes in various forms. It can be as subtle as asking for money to more overt cases like forcing someone to stay home from work, controlling how the money is spent, and even hiding and stealing money. Surprisingly enough, financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases.
As you can see, these forms of abuse all point to behaviors that intentionally manipulate, intimidate, and threaten the victim to entrap that person in the relationship. It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between different forms of abuse. This chart can help!
How have domestic violence rates gone up due to the Pandemic?
According to an article written by TIME magazine, women opened up about their abuse during the Pandemic. Jacky Mulveen, a victim willing to share her story, states that “COVID doesn’t make an abuser, But COVID exacerbates it. It gives them more tools, more chances to control you. The abuser says, ‘You can’t go out; you’re not going anywhere,’ and the government also is saying, ‘You have to stay in.'” The Nursing Center also reports that The National Domestic Violence Hotline received an abundance of calls during the first lockdown in March 2020 stating, “Over a two-month period, this organization experienced a 9% increase in total contacts received and over 6,000 contacts cited COVID-19 as amplifying the problem” With businesses being shut down, shelters being closed due to safety, and lack of privacy, many victims have been left feeling hopeless and helpless.
Where to get help?
Listed below are various resources that help with the various forms of abuse.
- What to do if you need urgent police help through the 999 services, but can’t speak
- Domestic Violence Support | The National Domestic Violence Hotline
- Resources for Victims/Survivors
Domestic abuse is something that affects both men and women around the world. It continues to be a global issue, especially with an emphasis on women. It is important to speak up if you recognize any of the behaviors listed above. The fight against domestic abuse is far from over.